Florida Football: Why Gators Will Bounce Back Against Mississippi State
After falling to LSU, 33-29 in "The Swamp" last Saturday, the Florida Gators find themselves losers of back-to-back games for just the second time during head coach Urban Meyer's tenure.
Unfortunately for the Gators, things don't get any easier with this weekend's homecoming matchup against Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
However, despite the tough challenge that awaits Florida, here are five reasons why the Orange and Blue will bounce back with a victory Saturday.
Jeff Demps Will Be Back
Ever since junior Jeff Demps bruised his left foot against Tennessee and then aggravated the injury against Kentucky, the offense has sorely missed their most dangerous playmaker.
To give you an idea of how much the Gator offense sputtered without their "home run" threat, consider this: despite seeing limited action against Kentucky and Alabama and missing the entire LSU game, Demps still leads the team with 414 rushing yards.
While freshman Trey Burton and redshirt freshman Andre Debose have recently emerged as game-changers, expect Florida to be much more dangerous when they have its go-to guy back in the regular lineup again.
Urban Meyer Will Be More Involved in The Offensive Game Plan
While the boos may not be affecting offensive coordinator Steve Addazio and head coach Urban Meyer, the on-field product certainly must be.
Against LSU, Florida averaged just 22.2 yards per drive and only exceeded 40 yards on two possessions—the first drive of the second half, which ended with a missed field goal, and the touchdown drive that put the Gators up 29-26 late in the fourth quarter.
Meyer knows that a night like that is unacceptable and he should be very proactive this week in finding a way to tailor his offense to the strengths of his players.
Something tells me that Meyer won't have John Brantley running the option with "damaged" ribs or Jeff Demps racking up 26 carries up the middle again like he did in Knoxville.
Jordan Reed and Trey Burton Can Both Run Wildcat Offense
And why would Burton make such a comparison?
Maybe because both players not only lined up at quarterback against LSU, but they both recorded rushing touchdowns during last Saturday's game.
Considering the sizes of Burton (6'2", 222 lbs.) and Reed (6'3", 240 lbs.) compared to likes of Jeff Demps and Mike Gillislee, these two bruisers may be better suited to take the beating of between-the-tackles running.
Plus, both players are natural quarterbacks and can get the offense going through the air if necessary.
With two options like this backing up a very good pocket passer in John Brantley, Florida could possibly have the most talented and dynamic quarterback depth chart in college football.
The Defense Is Hungry To Redeem Itself
Through the first four games of the 2010 season, the Florida defense had been a dominating force.
The undefeated Gators led the nation with 12 interceptions, had forced 14 turnovers overall, and had held their opponents to 17 points or fewer in each game.
However, 57 points, six touchdowns and 658 total yards later, Florida dropped to No. 22 in the AP Poll and saw its record slip to 4-2.
After two consecutive tough losses, senior team captains Ahmad Black and Justin Trattou will light a fire under their unit and try to get their teammates back to early-season form.
And if the current losing streak wasn't enough to get the defense motivated for Saturday's game, the Gators are facing former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.
The friendly rivalry with Mullen, combined with a desire to get back in the win column, will have the Gator defense pumped and firing on all cylinders against Mississippi State.
The Gators Won't Lose in The Swamp
Last week's 33-29 loss to LSU marked just the third home loss of Urban Meyer's tenure in Gainesville, and don't expect him to add to that total against Mississippi State.
And despite the second-guessing of the offensive play calling and the negative aura surrounding Florida's last two games, the Florida faithful will still pack Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and pull for the Orange and Blue.
"The Swamp" is arguably the toughest place to play in college football and if the game goes down to the wire, expect the home crowd to will the Gators to victory over the Bulldogs.
Also, it's Homecoming Week at the University of Florida, so expect the Gator Nation to be out in full force cheering on the Gators and making things miserable for Dan Mullen's squad Saturday night.